J is simply NOT keen on the puppy. He loves the concept of her, but she is still all teeth and rambunctiousness, and he is not into it at all. I hear a lot of high-pitched screaming if she so much as looks like she might approach him, and I sigh a lot. J gets anxious. I have tried to reassure him but he’s not willing, and I committed to the puppy so the puppy stays…
My sanity might fly out the window, and the puppy might spend more time away from J than intended, but the puppy stays.
Michael Corleone didn’t feel as much disappointment and animosity for his brother Fredo than J feels for the poor puppy who, let’s face it, has done nothing other than be a puppy. Yes, as I said, she’s all teeth still, and she’s reluctant to give up on attempting to chew on us, but that’s what puppies do.
I’ve tried to explain this to J. Remember how he wanted a dog? Dog? Dog? Dog? DOGDOGDOGDOGDOG? Yeah…I am still wondering why I listened to him at all…
If Autism and Anxiety are less than helpful Menopause is not exactly winning any ribbons for cooperation. It’s the Three Musketeers of disaster galloping through the house while slashing at curtains, blinds, upholstery and water bottles with very sharp swords.
I am trying to have a sense of humor about this. It’s not working. I am trying to be calm and cool and collected. That’s not working either. I put a lot of effort into being patient and understanding with J and the puppy. Massive failure.
I think the stress of a lot of things is accumulating. I think it’s actually brimming over. Between J’s hypochondria (doctor’s appointment on Friday to determine if there IS something wrong, or if this is attention-seeking behavior…), Dada’s annoyingly long commute, the dog’s objections to being exposed to weather when she has to do her business (seriously…a Golden Retriever who doesn’t want to get her paws wet? SERIOUSLY?), and J not even remotely trying to be slightly chill about getting closer to the dog (even when she’s on a short leash, calm and under my absolute control)…I am frayed around the edges. I am brittle. I am exhausted…
The puppy was a bad idea. The Dog Whisperer, by the way, talks a lot about himself in his books, and not enough about what the heck I’m supposed to do to make sure the dog knows I’m the leader of the pack. I am assertive. I am calm(ish…I cannot swear on a stack of Bibles that I am totally calm…and the dog probably smells fear, anxiety, Autism and Menopause in there somewhere). The dog isn’t convinced that I’m the one in charge even though I’m the person she follows around like a demented pilot fish 98% of the time. Most of the time it feels like the one getting trained within an inch of her life is me.
I have read books, worked with the dog, used the clicker, used the cage, used the leash, used rewards, used a stern but kind voice. I have walked her, petted her, encouraged her.
I’ve done the same with J.
I have reached the conclusion that they are exactly the same so it’s extremely strange to me that they don’t seem to get along yet. He hates the wet ground and so does she. He hates being told what to do; so does she. He expects a treat for no work; so does she. He doesn’t listen when I talk; neither does she. When he wants something, he wants it NOW; so does she. When it’s mealtime, he’s all over it like hairs on a gorilla; so is she.
I’m sure they will eventually warm up to each other. The teeth, however, are an issue right now…as is her youth. She is still too playful and too clueless as to why her playfulness might resemble a bear mauling a human being. If my sister’s dog hadn’t nipped at J nearly 20 years ago, and if a fuss hadn’t been made as to the well-being of the DOG rather than the child things might be different. If my sister, who never had kids, had understood how J would FOREVER remember that the dog was more important, even though the child was bleeding, scared and crying, things would be a lot easier.
This might take months. In fact, this might take a year. For the dog to chill out enough that she’s capable of stopping and being calm in J’s presence (right now she thinks he’s just a rather big person she wants to climb on, and he looks chewy!!!) she has to mature some more. J has to mature some more. I probably need to mature considerably.
In the meantime, here we are. I work on the dog’s obedience every day, and on trying to persuade J that she is not an Agent of Evil. The trait of stubbornness they share is uncannily similar in intensity. If there is one thing I really hope doesn’t happen it is that the dog takes as long as J did to figure out the bathroom situation…eight years is a long time. I’m committed to making this work, and I am working on it assiduously…that the results are spotty, and J’s support is nil is beside the point. If I can get the dog to a point where she gives out chiller vibes to J, then I will have made progress…I think.
Until then I work on not losing what’s left of my mind, taking care of everyone, figuring out the details of the whole thing, and preserving all area rugs (a kitchen mat has been declared unfit for service after the dog baptized it twice in spite of thorough laundering). I had forgotten what having a toddler is like, and now I’m dealing with -basically- two of them. Distraction and hyper-focusing are par for the course with both J and the dog, and irascibility, becoming overly excited and pecking at me also figure into the mix.
But it’ll work out, I’m sure, in the long run.